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National Science Foundation

FYI covers NSF’s major research and facilities programs, with a special focus on the Math and Physical Sciences Directorate. FYI also covers the foundation’s general policy, strategy, and administration, as well as activities of the National Science Board.

17 Mar 2017

The House Science Committee is currently preparing broad, new authorization legislation for NSF. At a hearing last week, committee members indicated that STEM education, ongoing oversight issues, and implementing a strong “national interest” requirement into NSF grant-making will all be on the committee's agenda. The committee is also planning to push the agency to favor engineering and the physical, biological, and computer sciences.

2 Mar 2017

Earlier this week, President Trump signed into law two bills that leverage existing programs at NASA and NSF to promote the advancement of women in STEM fields. Trump’s remarks at the signing constituted his first extemporaneous comments on science policy.

28 Feb 2017

During their first meeting of the year, members of the National Science Board enthusiastically discussed a proposed initiative to better understand and support the “blue collar STEM” workforce, although some expressed reservations about the label and others probed the extent to which such an effort is within the scope of the National Science Foundation’s mission.

10 Feb 2017

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing with four inspector general witnesses, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) underscored their role in protecting whistleblowers and highlighted a bill he introduced to strengthen federal scientific integrity policies. Among the witnesses was the National Science Foundation’s inspector general, who described ongoing efforts to strengthen the foundation’s oversight of large facilities and reduce costs associated with its use of rotating personnel, among other management challenges.

3 Feb 2017

The chairman’s plans include reforming the use of science in EPA rulemaking, prioritizing basic research at the Department of Energy, promoting STEM education, overseeing cybersecurity investigations, and adjusting NASA’s mission portfolio.

9 Jan 2017

Among his final actions in office over the past month, President Obama signed three major research-related bills into law: the 21st Century Cures Act, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, and the National Defense Authorization Act.

20 Dec 2016

In what one senator called an “overtime victory for science in the closing days of 2016,” the House passed the Senate’s “American Innovation and Competitiveness Act,” a bipartisan successor to the America COMPETES Acts of 2007 and 2010. President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

8 Nov 2016

The National Science Foundation estimates that U.S. R&D funding reached an all-time high of $499 billion in 2015. Of that total, the federally sponsored share fell to a record-low 23 percent while the business sector’s share rose to a record-high 69 percent.

3 Nov 2016

NSF is currently undertaking a formal process by which it will determine whether or not to divest from the Arecibo and Green Bank Observatories, with final decisions for each facility expected within the next year and a half.

27 Oct 2016

Last week, the White House announced a new initiative promoting public-private partnerships for the development and use of small satellites. The announcement comes as interest grows in using small satellites as platforms for scientific research.

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